Turner Williams Jr.


A couple of years back I put on a show Upstate NY that found Elkhorn’s Jesse Sheppard sparring with Turner Williams Jr. Williams was just off the collaborative jaunt he and Elkhorn had done while snowed in for the Storm Sessions. That night, as on the record, Williams employed the shahi baaja, an instrument that truly has to be seen to be believed. Somewhere between a piece of office apparatus, sitar, and banjo, the instrument can be something hypnotic in he right hands. Turner lets the shahi baaja ripple with a wild and whimsical abandon. On his latest record the instrument plays a central role, buzzing and plucking through ozone-crimped passages that bump up against Pelt, Gregory Raimo, Daniel Bachman, and Ami Dang, though he’ll tell you its Michael Flower’s work on bulbultarang (a cousin of the shahi baaja) that’s running through the record’s veins.

The last few sessions tracked at Black Dirt are close at hand, and this one might be one of a handful eked out before the esteemed studio closed its doors. With Meagher at the board, Turner has crafted an album that’s bracing and visceral. The record opens, dipping a few toes into the water of this soundbath, but the majority is made up of the two halves of its namesake — “Briars” and “On A Dewdrop.” The former is an undulating mass of sound and singe. It scrapes at the senses and jolts each and every nerve with a feedback flay of electrified glory. The latter lets a sense of Appalachian meditation into the flow, sawing at the strings in the school of Bachman, Gangloff, or latter day disciples Magic Tuber Stringband. The drones give way once more to a barrage of effects that find Turner manipulating the instrument in foaming drifts of virtuosic shred. The record wakes up the senses, elbows the soul, and resets the needle on the mind to deal with the deluge that’s beyond the speakers.

Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

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